Arbitron Agrees To 'Yet Another' Independent PPM Review
November 9, 2007 at 1:52 PM (PT)
In a lengthy response to ostensibly address the concerns of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK OWNED BROADCASTERS, (NABOB), ARBITRON basically defended the development and rollout of the PPM, nonetheless agreed to have "yet another independent body review the methodology."
Exactly who that independent body is was not disclosed in the statement.
After comprehensively detailing the nature of ratings methodology and the lengthy time ARBITRON took into developing the PPM, the statement finally addressed NABOB's concerns -- albeit generally -- by admitting, "It is true that overall audience numbers are recorded as lower in PPM than in the diary, although, of course, the actual audience has not changed. "It is also true that some formats and stations report relatively stronger audiences and some relatively lower audiences, and this has created considerable concern.
If the empirical evidence does not indicate that the PPM is not valid or less valid than the diary, then Arbitronâ??s responsibility as a research company ... mandates that the company move forward as fast as possible
"In order to do everything possible to maximize confidence in the basic statistical validity of the PPM methodology, and to establish as clearly as possible that the data is in fact more valid than the diary method, ARBITRON has agreed to have yet another independent body review the methodology.
"If that group, or any independent oversight group of research professionals, can empirically establish that the PPM data is not valid in research terms, or that it is less valid than the current diary, then ARBITRON will have to decide how best to address the issue.
"If the empirical evidence does not indicate that the PPM is not valid or less valid than the diary, then ARBITRON’s responsibility as a research company and as the provider of data that advertisers and broadcasters accept as 'currency' for buying and selling in radio mandates that the company move forward as fast as possible."
In other words, if this passes muster with whoever the unnamed independent entity may be, NABOB and everyone else will just have to deal with it.
To read the entire statement, click here.
The Conference Call: Still Working On In-Tab
The press statement comes hours after the latest in its monthly series of PPM-related conference calls, where ARBITRON, SVP/Press And Investor Relations, Pres./Sales And Marketing PIERRE BOUVARD, Dir./PPM Research BETH WEBB and VP/PPM Implementation JOHN SNYDER outlined "progress" in its methodology while responding to critical questions about the in-tab problems in specific demos and markets.
WEBB began by addressing "the steps we took to address our sample goal in PHILADELPHIA and HOUSTON," and claimed they were "making progress." This was backed up with data for OCTOBER showing 6+ samples for HOUSTON just 2 below target and PHILLY 77 above. The 18-34 demo continues to be a problem to sample, with a DDI in PHILADELPHIA of just 62. WEBB was quick to point out, "We're addressing that," and added, "a 90% in-tab increase does not correlate with a change in ratings."
NEW YORK's sample 6+ (including the embedded markets) is on target with a DDI of 99, and radio is 89.6% ready for reporting.
PIERRE BOUVARD announced the next release of the PPM Analysis tool would be "released in mid-DECEMBER. The software is expected to be 75-90% faster, based on internal tests." Another update is scheduled for MARCH 2008, with yet another sometime in the third quarter of next year.
ARBITRON's guarantee that 90% of targets will be met will be backed up with a rebate of 1% of the clients' net monthly rate. Explained BOUVARD, "We'll start at 85% and guarantee 1% per month until we hit 90%."
Sticking With Phone Recruitment, Considering Cell Phones
Responding to a question regarding the use of door-to-door recruitment in HOUSTON, and whether that would be used in PHILLY and NEW YORK, WEBB said it's hard to say. "There are differences between the markets. Our advantage in HOUSTON is that we've had it up longer, and had the opportunity to fine-tune." When pressed, WEBB suggested the recruitment would not be used in other markets, and would be phased out in HOUSTON.
That admission confirms what COX RADIO head BOB NEIL told ALL ACCESS yesterday about the move to phone center recruitment, which costs less to do, but has yet to deliver adequate results.
When asked by ALL ACCESS about the possibility of deploying PPM on smart-phones to help cure undersampling and correct the thin carry rate of the PPM device, WEBB responded "it's something we're starting to look at -- a virtual meter that can work with popular electronic devices such as a cell phone." BOUVARD added there are issues such as giving a respondent a device that "can change their media behavior." He pointed out that smart phones can play mp3s and videos, and that was a concern of ARBITRON. Additionally, he pointed out that "the mic is directional in these devices, and there could be drop off in audio that would affect the data. The mic on the PPM device is omni-directional."